committee recognizes the need to revitalize and strengthen ORES's research program and encourage collaboration with other federal agencies in activities relevant to SSA. The committee fully endorses these recommendations for increased resources and in-house capacity for research.
Recommendation 5-1: The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration's research and evaluation staff and its extramural research program be expanded substantially.
The above recommendation and earlier statements throughout the report on the importance of strengthening the in-house research capacity in SSA in no way suggest that there is no role for extramural research. A balanced program of intramural and extramural research is needed. Extramural research by itself cannot solve the problems. “No amount of external research will replace the need for the agency to invest in the internal research capability, for it is essential in itself and inextricably linked with the capacity to implement and use an effective extramural program” (Institute for Health and Aging, 1997, p. 29). Moreover, extramural research program places its own demands on the agency's research staff. Even when external researchers are competent, the oversight responsibility for careful evaluation of the work to insure the quality, adequacy, and appropriateness of the products, and for designing the approaches to testing and experimentation is that of the agency.
The text of the committee's recommendations follows, keyed to the chapter in which they appear in the body of this report.